The Feast Days of the Lord

By Clovis E. Miller

(Revised June 2012)


The Feast Days of the Lord are an outline of God's prophetic plan for the redemption of mankind. These are found, in their fullest form in the Book of Leviticus (Chapter 23). They are also referred to in other passages such as Exodus Chapter 12, Numbers Chapter 28-29, and in Deuteronomy Chapter 16.

We shall use the Book of Leviticus (Chapter 23: 1-38) as our primary text in this study.

From this passage of Scripture we learn that there are a total of seven holy convocations, or "feast days", on God's prophetic calender. These can be divided into 2 groups:

Four which occur in the Spring season:

1) Killing the Pascal Lamb (Passover) 14 Nissan
2) Feast of Unleavened Bread (Sometimes called Passover) 15 - 21 Nissan
3) Firstfruits (First Sunday following 14 Nissan "...the morrow after the sabbath...")
4) Feast of Weeks or Ingathering (also called Pentecost) 50 days after Firstfruits

The first 3 of these feasts were to be observed in the 1st month of the religoius calender which is called Nissan or Abib; and the 4th feast was to be observed in the 3rd month which is called Sivan.

Feasts 2, 3 and 4 dealt with the early harvesting and use of grain. This period was followed by the summer growing season. Afterwards the final Fall harvest (fruit, especially grapes) was completed. During that time the three remaining feast days were to be kept.

The Feast days of the Fall are:

5) The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanna -Yom Teruah - Tishri 1)
6) The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur - Tishri 10)
7) The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot - Tishri 15-21)

All three of these holy convocations (rehersals) are observed in the 7th month of the Jewish calendar which is called, Tishri.

The first four feasts speak to the first coming of Messiah, who we know to be Jesus. The last three speak of his second coming, and the establishment of God's Kingdom on Earth. Zechariah said that in that day, "The Lord shall be King over all the earth" (Zech. 14:9)

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1) Killing of the Pascal Lamb

Jesus, as the pre-incarnate Word of God, had a mission set before him to complete. And here is what the Feast Days of the Lord tell us about that mission:

He was to be born into this world and die as the Passover Lamb of God. We are told this in the New Testament: (John 18:37)

In John 1:29 John the Baptist said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world"

The Apostle Paul also stated that , "...Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us". (I Cor.5:7)

John the Baptist's declaration: "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world", is a reference to the substitutionary aspect of the redemptive plan of God. Just as the Passover lamb in Egypt was sacrificed, so that the first born of the houses of Israel might live; Jesus was the designated substitute that the entire world might live. Even so, that substitution was invalid, in Egypt, unless the blood of the lamb was applied to the door of the house {Ex.12:22-23}. Likewise, redemption through Jesus is thwarted, unless the blood of His sacrifice is applied (accepted) in our hearts {Heb. 10:9-12}.

This was previously demonstrated by Abraham when he went forth to sacrifice Isaac. Just as he was about to slay his son, God stopped him, and provided a ram (a substitute) in Isaac's place {Gen. 22:10-13}. It was a prophetic picture that God, the Father would provide His own substitute, in the future, in order to redeem humanity. In that case however, He would not spare His own Son, as He did Abraham's. The Passover lamb was never slain as a "sin-offering", but was a symbol of the coming substitute. On the14th day of Nissan, a Passover lamb was slain for the whole nation of Israel; however, sin offerings were still made seperately on the same day, by the Temple Priest. At the same time, the Passover lamb's for the individual families of Israel, were slain in the Temple, not by the priest, but by the head of each household.

All of this points to what Paul meant by saying, "...Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us". He could just as well have said, "Christ our substitute is sacrificed for us." What then, did Jesus die for the sins of the world? Absolutely, but not as the Passover lamb! The actual atonement for our sins, is fulfilled by Jesus through the symbolic types of the two goats on the festival of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), that were also reflective in His death at Passover. This will be covered below.

John 19:14 also tells us that Jesus was crucified on the "...preparation of the Passover...", which according th Lev. 23:5, occured on the 14th day of the first month (Nissan). By his death on the Cross, on that day, Jesus literally fulfilled this feast day in the very smallest detail.

[Note: Early on, Passover (14 Nissan) and Unleavened Bread (15 Nissan) were observed as seperate feast days.

"Originally, Passover was two seperate and distinct holidays: an agricultural holiday called Chag Ha-matzot ("Festival of Unleavened Bread") and a pastoral holiday called Chag Ha-pesach ("Festival of the Paschal Lamb"). These holidays developed independently in the springtime of the year, in the Hebrew month Nissan (March-April), and eventually the two were merged." (From: The Jewish Home Advisor, by Rabbi Alfred Kolatch, Page 216. 1990).

Eventually, the day on which Passover the lamb was slain, was reduced to the status of a "preparation" day; and Passover was deemed to begin on 15 Nissan, the Feast of Unleavened Bread {Lev. 23:5-6 ; Luke 22:1}. Leaven used in making bread rise, is considered a type of sin. It was removed from all the homes of Israel on 14 Nissan. This, along with the killing of the Passover lamb, made the 14th a day of labor. The 15th, being a "sabbath", eventually came to represent the official start of Passover.]

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2) Unleavened Bread

The second holy convocation, which Jesus fulfilled, was the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As stated, it commences with the evening following the killing of the Passover Lamb. It is a seven day festival which begins and ends with a " high day" ("sabbath", or day of rest).

How did Jesus fulfill Unleavened Bread?

FIRSTLY,

John 6:32-35 states,

32) "Then Jesus said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.

33) For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
34) And they said to him, "Lord give us this bread always."

35) And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst."

Jesus declared that he was the "Bread of Life" which came down from heaven.

SECONDLY,

Jesus was born at Bethlehem.

The word, Bethlehem, in Hebrew means "House of Bread". In Hebrew it's pronounced "Bayth - Lekh' em". So Jesus "the bread of life" which came down from Heaven, came to us through the House of Bread. The word Hebrew word, lekh'em, can also refer to the grain from which bread is made.

Jesus said "....unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain." (John 12:24). This was a prophetic reference not only to his death, burial and resurrection, but also to the Church which would grow out of it (the church, being the "much grain" which he referred to).

THIRDLY,

In Mark 14:22, Jesus broke the bread on the Passover, gave it to his disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." The Scriptures are clear that the Feast of Unleavened Bread pointed to Jesus. The "matzah" or bread which is used used during the Passover season is made without leaven (the rising agent) Leaven is considered to be a type of sin, and must be removed from all jewish homes on the 14th of Nissan. Only unleavened bread may be eaten during the next seven days.

The bread was, and still is, cooked on a grill causing it to have a striped appearance (Isa. 53:5 declares, "...with his stripes we are healed.), I Peter 2:24 (says, "...by whose stripes ye were healed").

The Bread is also perforated with small holes to help the baking process (Psalms 22:16 records, "They pierced my hands and my feet") ( In Zechariah 12:10 we find, "They shall look upon me whom they have pierced.") This theme is repeated in John 19:34. Then also in the Book of Revelation 1:7 we read: "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see him, even they who pierced him."

It's interesting that in the Jewish Passover service (Seder), there are three pieces of Matzah or bread stacked on the table. Near the beginning of the Passover meal, the middle piece of bread is taken out and broken. It is then wrapped in a piece of linen cloth and hidden away.

There are also four cups of wine which are drank during the Passover service. The third cup is called "The Cup of Redemption". When they get to the third cup, in that part of the service, the matzah or bread which had been wrapped in the linen and hidden away, is brought back to the table, unwrapped and all of those at the table take a piece of the bread and eat it as they also share from that 3rd cup of wine. Jesus, the unleavened bread of Passover, was broken (put to death), hidden away (buried) , and then rose from the grave on the third day. The Jewish people may not currently realize the symbolism of the broken bread or the 3rd cup of wine in connection with Messiah; but someday they will see everything clearly.

Most of us, as Christians, too, do not realize that when we partake of communion, we are actually celebrating a part of the Passover service. Someday the Lord will also open all of our eyes to this fact, as well.

When I hear about the three cups of wine, it also reminds me that the "Bread of Life" (that grain of wheat), was to remain in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights, just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for the same length of time. That was a picture of the death and burial of the coming Messiah. After the three days and three nights, Messiah's Spirit returned to the tomb and to his body, and He was resurrected with the grave clothes being shed, as we are told in John 20:5. Then the purpose of the cup of redemption was fully realized.

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3) Firstfruits

The third feast which Jesus fulfilled is called "Firstfruits". This was a very early harvesting of the barley crop by which a sample was first brought before the Lord by the High Priest in order that He might bless the fields of Israel with an abundant crop for that year. The sheaf of grain was cut at the ending of the weekly sabbath (after sundown) which occured during the week of Unleavened Bread. This "wave offering" called an "omer", was then presented before the Lord on the "morrow after the Sabbath" (early Sunday morning). It's mentioned in Lev. 23:11-14. A controversy broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, during the days when Jesus was upon the earth, as to which sabbath day the omer should be offered up to the Lord. For more on this, click on the link at the end of this article.

This feast was fulfilled in it totality, on that Sunday when Jesus came out of the Tomb, ascended to heaven (John 20:17) as the "firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep"; and then returned to present Himself to the diciples. He abided with his followers for 40 days before ascending again to heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father.

I Cor. 15:20 says, " But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep"

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4) Feast of weeks or Ingathering

The fouth Feast day of the Lord, is called the Feast of Weeks or "Ingathering". It is so called because the people were to count from the "morrow after the Sabbath" (which was Fristfruits) 7 Sabbaths (49 days). Then on the morning after the 7th Sabbath they were to make another wave offering of grain to the Lord. This feast day is also referred to as "firstfruits" {Lev. 23:17}; but was not from barley, but rather from the new crop of wheat grown in the land.

Jesus told his disciples to abide at Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came and endued them with power. They were to then go unto the ends of the earth proclaiming the Gospel about Jesus.

That empowerment occurred 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus. The Church calls this day "Pentecost" but it was an actual fulfillment of the Feast of Weeks or Ingathering. The Jewish tradition (post temple days) held that this was the same day on which Moses brought the Law down from Mount Sinai, and found the people worshipping the golden calf. In Exodus 32:25 Moses said," Whoever is on the Lord's side -- come to me!" And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him."

Here we have the original Ingathering.

Also --- on that day about three thousand people were slain. (EX. 32:28)

In contrast to this, on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came down, those filled with the Spirit went out and preached to the people. The Feast of Weeks or In-gathering was then prophetically fulfilled, as about three thousand people were saved on that day. (Acts 2:41).

The contrast here is obvious:

By the breaking of the law came death, but by the expression of faith came salvation and life.

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These are the four Feast Days of the Lord which have been fulfilled so far.

Let's RECAP:

1) Jesus was the Passover Lamb slain to take away the sin of the world.

2) He was the bread of life which came down from heave to us, thru the House of Bread : Bethlehem ; and he was the grain of barley which fell into the earth and died.

3) He was the firstborn of many brethren; the firstborn from the dead, and the firstfruits from the grave.

4) Fifty days later on the Feast of In-gathering (which we call Pentecost) the Holy Spirit came down on the believers at Jerusalem and the Church was born. The process of harvesting the world began with the salvation of three thousand souls (firstfruits of the Church Age).

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5) Feast of Trumpets

The fifth feast on God's timetable is called the Feast of Trumpets. This celebration occurs yearly on the 1st day of the 7th month (which is called Tishri). It is the first feast of the fall season, and usually occurs in September or October on our calender. In ancient Israel this was the month when the final harvest of the year was to be completed. While it was the seventh month of the year on the religious or festive calendar, it is also the first month of the year on the "Civil"Calendar.

The harvesting of the crops started back in the Spring, during Passover week with "firstfruits"; it then continued with the Feast of Ingatherings (or Pentecost), and were to be finished up in the Fall; with a new cycle beginning afterwards. On most of our calendars the Feast of Trumpets will appear under the name, Rosh Hashana, which means "Head of the Year".

With regard to this Feast, we may start by looking at the "Doctrine of Imminence" (Jesus could return at any moment of any day). Jesus himself warned the people not to become complacent, or to become abusive to others because we think he has delayed his return.

From our perspective the return of Jesus is imminent (We do not know what year - what day - what hour or what minute, Jesus will return for the Church). We can all agree on that point.

On the other side, God the Father already knows the exact instant when Jesus will return. That day is already appointed by Him. Jesus stated this in Matthew 24:36. Some suggest that that day can be hastened by speeding up the work of evangelizing the world. Whatever the case may be, since God is omniscient, he already sees all things in the future and already knows everything that will be done leading up to that day. So that it is not a movable date based on what we do, but rather a fixed date, based on what the Father knows to be the facts.

In the Books of Matthew, Mark and Luke we are commanded repeatedly to watch for the return of Jesus.

Let's look at Matthew 24:36

Jesus said, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven. but My Father only," Now immediately we think, here is the Scripture which establishes the Doctrine of Imminence. According to this we cannot know anything about the exact timing of the return of Jesus. Many people use that very thing as an excuse for not studying Bible Prophecy. In their eyes, "Since the rapture willl occur without any signs or other notice, and we're not going to be here during the Tribulation, anyway: there is no point in us spending time studying such things." What a terribly narrow attitude to have towards the Word of God. It was important enough to Him, that He made about one-third of the Bible prophetic in structure. Shouldn't we show Him the reverence He deserves in all things; or only those things which seem necessary to our own lives?

Let's remember here, that Jesus fulfilled the appointments of the first three feast of the Lord perfectly, to the exact day! These feast days or "convocations" which were observed yearly for more than 1,300 years prior to His death, and were to be rehearsals for the actual events.

He was crucified at Passover; He was in the Tomb at the start of Unleavened Bread, then came out of the tomb, and appeared to the people on Firstfruits "the morrow after the Sabbath" (which was the Sunday of Passover week).

THEN

Fifty days later, on the Feast of In-gathering (which we call Pentecost): on that exact day, the believers in the upper room were empowered, and the Church age began.

From the fulfillment of the first four feast days, We can be sure that on whatever day Jesus returns, it will be a fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets. The evidence is just too compelling!

The main New Testament Scriptures we have, regarding the Feast of Trumpets, are given in I Thess. 4:16-17, and in I Cor. 15:51-52.

In I Thessalonians we read:

16) "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

17) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, And thus we shall always be with the Lord"

I Corinthians 15 says:

51) "Behold I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed

52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."

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If the first four feast were fulfilled precisely at the appointed time, doesn't it stand to reason that the Lord will also have last three to be fulfilled at the appointed times. Would the Lord have the first four to be carried out so precisely, and then throw a cloud over the remaining three? That's possible but, I don't think that's the case.

How then can we understand this in such a way so that Jesus fulfills the prophecy of the Feast of Trumpets; and at the same time, it does not violate His words, that no man knows the day or hour of His return?

Can the Feast of Trumpets be fulfilled on the exact day, and at the same time have the day of His return remain as a mystery?

The answer to this question is YES!

The Apostle Paul said, "Behold, I show you a mystery..."

Let me explain how this might be possible:

When Jesus said that no man knows the day or the hour of his return, but only His Father in heaven knows that day; He was making a reference to something every Jew of His day would have understood.

The Feast Days of Israel are based on a Lunar calendar; which means that the feast days are set by the phases of the moon. Each month of the year begins with the sighting of the new moon.

The calendar is also a dual calendar. Our calendar normally runs from January 1st thru Dec. 31st; The Government, on the other hand, uses a "Fiscal Calendar" which runs from October 1st thru September 30th of the next year. We, in effect, have two different new years days in our year.

The calendar of Israel is similiar. They have a religious calendar which runs from one Spring to the next Spring: then they also have a civil calendar which begins six months later, in early Fall and runs to the Fall of the next year. Nissan, the month of Passover, begins the religious calendar, and Tishri, the month of the Fall Feast days, begins the civil calendar.

Of the 7 feast days of Israel which are observed every year, only one begins on the day of the new moon (or the first day of the month) and that is Rosh Hashana or The Feast of Trumpets

It occurs on the 1st day of Tishri. That's would be the 7th month of the religious calendar; but it's the 1st month of the civil calendar of the Fall.

This is the way the beginning of the Feast of Trumpets was dealt with in the days when Jesus walked on the earth:

In order for the Feast of Trumpets to begin, it had to be established by the High Court in Jerusalem that the new moon had indeed been sited. When that happened, the beginning of the month was determined and thus, the feast day could commence.

The process by which that was accompolished back then, was that two reliable witnesses, who actually saw the very first light of the new moon, had to go to the High Court and declare to them that they had seen the first light of the new moon.

When the Court was satisfied that they were indeed reliable witnesses, then, and only then, would it declare that the new month had begun and that the Feast of Trumpets could start. As soon as that had been decreed by the Court, messengers were sent out from Jerusalem to make known that the new month and the feast day were here. Because the appearance of the new moon could occur at any hour of the day or night, and due to delays often encountered by the messengers, The Feast of Trumpets became a two day festival: Tishri 1 and Tishri 2, and even though it was a 48 hour period, it was, and still is, counted by the jewish people as "one long day".

So what does this tell us?

It tells us that no one in all the land knew what day, or hour, the day the Feast of Trumpets would begin, because no one in all the land knew what day, or hour, the new moon would be sited. Only God in heaven knew when the new moon would be sited by the witnesses.

Now let's read Matthew 24:36 again,

Jesus said, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven. but My Father only,"

A scenario such as this would allow Jesus to fulfill the Feast of Trumpets at the precise time and not violate his words that no one knows the day and hour of his return. In truth, we cannot know which Feast of Trumpets He may come on, nor what hour of that day.

I'm not trying to be dogmatic about this; but I hope that when that season gets here we will be mindful of the fact that the Feast of Trumpets is the next Feast to be completed on God's timetable, and that Jesus may well come back at that time.

What the fulfillment of this feast tells us is that Jesus will come back for his bride ( the church) which, with the sounding of the trumpet, will be taken to heaven. There, it will be for 7 years while the Tribulation period is going on in the earth. At the end of the 7 years, Jesus and His church will return to the earth for what is called "the Marriage Supper of the Lamb". This in itself is a whole seperate study.

Many people believe that the marriage supper will occur in Heaven. In the Book of Revelation however, there is no mention of it until we arrive at chapter 19, just prior to the Revelation of Jesus with the saints. A heavenly marriage supper is also not in keeping with the ancient Jewish Marriage ceremony. In that, the bride is "stolen away" (usually in the middle of the night) and taken to the house of the groom's father, where a bridal chamber had been prepared. Upon arrival there the Bride and Groom entered the chamber where they remained for 7 days. During that 7 days alone, they learned everything about each other. Then after the 7 days were finished, the new husband and wife come out of the chamber and they return to the wife's former home where they will celebrate the marriage.

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6) Day of Atonement

The Day of Atonement is the sixth Feast Day of the Lord, and has both a past; and yet future fulfillement to be considered: the second coming of the Lord, wherein He will save Israel.

The redemption of humanity, which was began with the substitutionary sacrificial type of the Passover Lamb (as stated above), was finalized, or completed through the types of the sin offerings of the Day of Atonement. All of the sin offerings, under the law, were of a substitutionary nature, as was that of the Passover lamb. As the Scriputre states, "...without shedding of blood is no remission." {Heb. 9:22}. We find that in Jesus, all of the components of the sacrificial system of the law, were merged, and fulfilled, by His single sacrifice on Calvary {Heb. 10:4, 12}.

The Passover lamb of the law {Ex. 12: 5-6} was sacrificed inside the Temple on 14 Nissan, with it's blood applied to the Altar of Sacrifice. The Passover Lamb of God {I Cor. 5:7} was sacrificed on the same day, outside the Temple; and indeed "outside the camp" (city), with it's blood poured out at the place of another altar {Heb. 13: 10-13}. The altar which the Apostle Paul is referring to in the Epistle to the Hebrews, is known in Judaism as the "Miphkad Altar", and spoken of in Numbers Chapter 19.

It was here that the Red Heifer, the most holy of the sin offerings, was sacrificed. The Red Heifer was the only sacrifice which was not killed in the Tabernacle or the Temple. It was led "outside the camp", and in Temple Days, eastward to the Mount of Olives at Jerusalem, where in direct alignment with the Holy of Holies, it was killed and burned {Num. 19:2-4}. Moreover, it was sacrificed by a priest, other than the High Priest. It's blood was sprinkled towards the Holy of Holies, then the body was burned and it's ashes mixed with water, which was then sprinkled for purification of all those who in anywise had come into contact with a human corpse, or burial place. Hence we see that even the Red Heifer type was fulfilled through blood and water coming out of the body of Jesus {John 19:34 ; Heb. 9:12-14}. The blood was the sin offering for the atonement of believer's sins, and the water was a testimony of it's purifying effects (i.e. the sanctification of the believer) {I John 5:6, 8}. The bodies of the animals sacrificed in the Temple on the Day of Atonement, were also taken "outside the camp" to be burned {Lev.16:27}. Because the Temple Mount in Jerusalem has been defiled by death down through the centuries; from the Jewish perspective, the ashes of a Red Heifer must be produced for purification of the people, and the mount. Only then, can the Temple can be rebuilt. To date, no candidate has been produced which passes the rigid rules applied to a qualifying heifer. The type of the Red Heifer, actually speaks to the removal of the curse of death {Gen. 2:17}, which was accompolished by atonement for sin made through the death of Jesus. The curse pertains to the "second death" {Rev.20:14}, which is eternal seperation from God, for those who reject the atonement made for them, by Jesus.

We are told in Ex.12:3-5, that the Passover "lamb" could be selected from either sheep, or goats. On the Day of Atonement, exactly six months later, the High Priest would take a bull, as a sin offering for himself and his family, and two "...kids of the goats as a sin offering." for the children of Israel (two animals used as a single sin offering for the people) {Lev. 16: 5}. According to the Talmud (Tractate Yoma, Chapter VI), these two were "he-goats" and lots were to be drawn for them. One would be sacrificed before the Lord, the other would be used as a "scapegoat". After lots were drawn, the bull was sacrificed for the Priest and Family {Lev. 16:14}. With that being finished, the kid chosen for the Lord, would be killed, by the High Priest, in the Temple, and it's innocent blood sprinkled, upon the Mercy Seat (one time - Lev. 16:15 ; Heb. 9:12) in the Holy of Holies, just as it had been done with the blood of the bull. All of this was for the purification of the Temple, from the sins of the Priest and the people. With the Temple cleansed, the High Priest would lay both hands on the head of the innocent scapegoat and confess over it:

"...all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins..."

(Emphasis above is mine)


The scapegoat would then be led out and released, into the wilderness, "...to an uninhabited land..." bearing ALL the sins of the people. This type, of a sin bearer, is what was put forth in Isa. 53:6, "...the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." With the scapegoat, ALL the sins of the people were taken care of, whether deliberate or unintentional. Note that the word "all" is used three times in the above verse; emphasizing the totality of the peoples sins.

Both of the young goats used on the Day of Atonement; just like the Passover lamb, had to be without blemish. Scripture states, "For he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin..." {II Cor. 5:21}. The "one time", that the blood of the slain goat was sprinkled upon the mercy seat; as well as, the seven times it was sprinkled, "before the mercy seat" {Lev. 16:14-15}, speak of the perfected sacrifice made by Jesus. He entered the Holiest Place, and sprinkled the blood upon the mercy seat, "once for all" {Heb. 9:23-26 ; Heb.10:10}. Seven is the symbolic number of perfection, or completion. After the blood had been appplied to the mercy seat once, it was then sealed by the application of blood seven times, before the mercy seat, completing this part of the sin offering.

The two goats used on the Day of Atonement were perfect examples of what happened to Jesus on the day of His crucifixion; for He was more than just the Passover Lamb on that day. On the day of the crucifixion, His perfect substitutionary sacrifice, was that to which all the sacrifices of the Law pointed. In the Temple, the innocent blood of the first goat was shed, and sprinkled in the Holy of Holies, and then the Sanctuary, to make atonement for God's Holy dwelling place; thus appeasing the wrath of God towards the sins of the people. This was mirrored by the shedding of Jesus' blood on the cross. Although God's wrath was now appeased "once for all", the sins of the people yet remained in His presence. Therefore, as the innocent scapegoat, He was charged with bearing away the sins of the people, from the presence of God. Through His death, He also fulfilled that part of the mission.

It is as though God the Father, in providing His own sacrifice, acted as the High Priest, sprinkling the blood of Jesus upon the mercy seat in heaven. He then went out of the Holiest Place, and laid both hands upon the head of Jesus, while upon the cross: confessing the sins of the world upon Him. Afterwards, Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" {Ps. 22:1 ; Matt. 27:46}. He was forsaken on the cross, just as the scapegoat taken into the wilderness. Both were abandoned. The two goats were to be a "sin offering" (singular). Therefore, the process would not be completed until the blood of the first was shed, AND the sins were confessed upon the second. Then, with these things being accomplished, Jesus could declare, "...it is finished" {John 19:30}.

So you see, it was only through the injustice inflicted upon the innocent (demonstrated by the types of the Passover lamb, Red Heifer, the Slain Goat, the Scapegoat, etc.), that mercy could be obtained for the guilty. God was willing to let His innocent Son suffer the greatest of injustice, that He might be able to show mercy to us, the guilty {Isa. 53:10}. This is absolute proof of the great love which He has for humanity {John 3:16}.

It should also be noted, that atonement for the peoples sins was valid, only if the people had a truly repentant attitude; otherwise the sacrifice made for them was to no avail. The same is true of God's offer of mercy through the Lord Jesus.

Though the sin problem of mankind has been successfully dealt with through Jesus, there is still yet a future prophetic fulfillment of the Day of Atonement concerning the redemption the nation of Israel, who has, to date, rejected the atonement for sin, made by Jesus. Even so, God has declared that He will still save all of Israel {Rom. 11:26-27}. Ultimately, it will be on a future Day of Atonement, that Israel will finally accept the work of Jesus, and God will have mercy upon them, restoring them to their rightful position {Rom. 11:20-23}. The Day of Atonement is the most solemn holy day of the year for the Jewish people. In that day there shall be no work done; it is also a day of fasting for the Scripture declares:

Lev. 23: 27" ... you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.
28) And you shall do no work in that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God.
29) for any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people."

In Hosea 5:14-15, we read:

"For I will be unto you E'phra-im as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Ju'dah: I, even I, will tear you and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him,
I will go and return unto to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early."

Here we see a perfect picture of what has, and will happen to Israel. They rejected their Messiah, who came unto them, after which they were scattered through out the world. They have been persecuted wherever they have gone, and no one came to their rescue (until this modern era when they were assisted in their return to the land). The Lord says, He will go away from them, and return unto His place (heaven), until such a time as they acknowledge their offence (rejecting the atonement made for them). It is then stated that the day will come when they will seek Him in their affliction (during the great tribulation period). Then, and only then, will He return, make an end to their sin, and have mercy upon the people.

How do we know that this return (the Second coming of Jesus) will occur on this day?

Firstly, after the fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets, it's the next feast day on the prophetic calendar to be fulfilled.

Secondly, in the Jewish understanding, on the Day of Atonement, the judgment or fate of each individual will be made known and sealed.

In Zechariah 12:10 it states:

"And I will pour on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look upon Me whom they pierced, Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. (NKJV)

12) And the land shall mourn, every family by itself..."

The statements in Zechariah 12, let us know that in that day, every family in the land will mourn "by itself"; indicating that they will be in their own dwellings, and that this will be a sabbath day. The Day of Atonement is a Sabbath day in the strictest sense of the word. Not only is work not permitted, but the people are to abstain from eating as well. It would be, on this day, exactly 84 months (7 years) since starting, that the tribulation period shall be brought to a close, with the Revelation of Jesus Christ and the destruction of the Antichrist and False Prophet {Zech. 14:3-4 ; Rev. 19:11,20}. Final atonement for the sins of Israel shall also be realized by the people on that day {Dan. 9:24}. For more on the connection of the Day of Atonement with the tribulation period, click the "The Structure of the Tribulation Period", link at the end of this article.

In Chapter 13:6 we read:

"And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, These with which I was wounded in the house of my friends."

Revelation 1:7 makes reference to that day as well:

7) Behold He is coming with clouds, and every eye willl see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him..."

When Jesus comes at the end of the Tribulation period, Israel, not the Antichrist, will be in control of Jerusalem. This is confirmed in Zechariah 14.

1) "For I will gather all nations to battle against Jerusalem...
3) Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations. As he fights in the day of battle.
4) And in that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives."

The battle spoken of here is the Battle of Armageddon.

As you may recall, Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1: 10-12). So shall He return to the same place, to begin the fulfillment of the festival day which is called "the Day of Atonement" (Yom Kipppur).

When the battle of Armageddon is finished; the Antichrist and False Prophet will be cast into the Lake of Fire, and Satan shall be bound for a thousand years (REV. 20:1-4).

On Tishri 1 (the Feast of Trumpets), it is understood that the Gates of Heaven are opened that the righteous may enter in. At the end of Tishri 10 (the Day of Atonement) the gates of heaven are closed again. At the very end of the Day of Atonement the Jewish people have a service called ne'ila, during which a "great trumpet" is sounded which announces that the Day of Atonement is finished and that the Gates of Heaven are now closed.

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In Judaism there are three trumpets which have names:

There is the "first trumpet" which was sounded at Mount Sinai (Ex. 19:16)

There is also the "last trumpet" which the Jewish people believe will sound on the Feast of Trumpets, and the dead will be resurrected and judged. This is the trumpet the Apostle Paul spoke of.

Finally, there is the "great trumpet". This is the one which sounds to announce the end of the Day of Atonement.

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Prophetically speaking, When Jesus comes back and puts down all opposition to God, then the Great Trumpet will sound, not only to close the Day of Atonement; but to announce the gathering of the saints from the four corners of the earth as it is prophesied in Matthew 24:31.

"And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."

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That event brings us to the prophecy in Matthew 25:

31) "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then will He sit upon the throne of His glory.

32) All nations will be gathered before Him, and he will seperate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.

33) And he will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left"

Now I would like to bring out a point about these verses:

Scripture tells us that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God the Father.

When He comes to judge the nations we are told that He will set the sheep (the righteous) on His right hand, but the goats (the wicked) will be on His left hand.

So what does this tell us?

It tell us that on the day of Judgment, Jesus will be seated (symbolically) between the Father and the righteous shielding them from the wrath to come. The wicked on the other hand will be on the left side, which places them between the Father and the Son; and we know that nothing can stand between the Father and the Son, so they will be taken and cast into the Lake of Fire according to Matt. 25:41.

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7) Feast of Tabernacles

The seventh and final Feast Day of the Lord, The Feast of Tabernacles, will be ushered in with the judgment of the nations in Matt. 25. It will be a 1,000 year transitional period when every vestige of sin and rebellion will be put down; and will culminate with a final rebellion led by Satan who will be released from the bottomless pit, only to be thrown into the Lake of Fire; then the destruction of the last enemy will come, which is DEATH.

After that Jesus will deliver up the kingdom to the Father and God shall make a new Heaven and earth and all the former problems of humanity will pass away forever.

Rev. 21:4 says, "And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God."

The body of Jesus is the tabernacle of God.

Colossians 2:9 declares: "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily."

Scripture also says:

"And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be -- The Lord is One, and His name is one." (Zech. 14:9)

Rev. 19:12 tells us that when Jesus is revealed from heaven He will have a name "written that no one knew except himself".

When He comes back with the saints, He is going to reveal that new name, which He has for Himself, to the world! English speaking people will no longer call Him Jesus; and Spanish people won't say Ha-soos; Jewish people won't call Him Ye-shua, nor will Thai people call Him Yaa-soo.

But in that day all people of the earth will pronounce his name the same way, as the Scripture states, "His name is one."

Jesus further stated in Rev. 3:12 that upon those who overcome during the Tribulation period, "I will write upon him My new name."

Scripture tells us that Jesus shall rule the earth with a "Rod of Iron". (Rev. 19:15). As stated, His rule and authority will begin with the judgment of the nations.

Jesus also said in Rev. 2, of those who overcome during the Great Tribulation:

26) "And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations-
27) He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessel."

Here Jesus is repeating what the Father told Him in Psalm 2:7-9.

By this time Man will have gone through all of the different forms of Government:

Tribal Leadership
Monarchy = which is The rule of the King
Oligarchy = The rule of the Few
Democracy = The Rule of the People

and then will come the final form:

Theocracy = The rule of God

Webster's Dictionary defines Theocracy as:

"Government by priest claiming to rule by Divine authority."

Rev. 1:6 states the Jesus has made us "kings and priest to His God and Father."

Again in chapter 5 verse 10 it says. that He has, " made us kings and priest to our God; and we shall reign on earth."

This will be fulfilled by the 1,000 year reign over all the earth by Jesus and His saints.

The 1,000 year fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles will be the most glorious time the world has seen to date. Righteousness will be the rule of the day, and sin will be looked down on. It will be the total opposite of what is going on in the world today. There's indication in Scripture however, that some rebellion will remain:

Zechariah 14:16-17 states:

16) "And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King the Lord of host, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

17) And it shall be that whichever families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of host, on them there will be no rain."

I Cor. 15: 24-26

24) Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and authority and power.
25) "For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His Feet.
26) The last enemy that will be destroyed is death"

This is confirmed in Rev 20:

14) "Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire, This is the second death.
15) And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire."

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We will stop, at this point, with the overview of the Feast days and go back to the beginning to give you some detail about these feasts - especially Passover.

Passover commemorates the tenth plague that God unleashed against Egypt and also the final night the Israelites spent under the bondage of Egypt. On that night, more than 3,500 years ago, the Lord struck down all of the firstborn in the land of Egypt including the firstborn of Pharoah. Moses had instructed the people to kill a lamb "without blemish" and to apply its blood to the door post and lintels of their homes. Only the first born, abiding in houses where the blood of the lamb had been applied, were spared.

This was done because the Lord said that when He came to a house with the blood on the door post and lintel, He would "pass over" it and the first born would be spared. Therefore the name, Passover, was used from that time onward to commemorates what took place on that night.

It appears that the blood on the lintel and the two door post (the three parts) was like the mark of God:

FATHER (lintel) ------- SON (door post) -------- HOLY SPIRIT (door post).

For more than 1,300 years after the Children of Israel left Egypt, they celebrated the Passover: and then one day on the banks of the Jordan River, there stood John the Baptist with a crowd of people; and when he saw Jesus approaching, he raised his hand, pointed to Jesus and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

Note here, that John said that the Lamb of God "...takes away the sin of the world".

All of the animal sacrifices that were carried out in the temple every year were only meant to cover the sins of the people until that one came who could take away the those covered sins. (that being the Messiah)

In Daniel 9:24 we are told just what the work of the Messiah would be:

It says, "Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city,

1) To finish the transgression,
2) To make and end of sins,
3) To make reconciliation for iniquity,
4) To seal up vision and prophecy,
and
5) To annoint the Most Holy...."

These five points represent the mission of the Messiah.

The sacrifices in the temple only covered the sins of the people for that one year. So each year there had to be new sacrifices made.

But those sacrifices could never take away the peoples sins.

In Hebrews 10:4 Paul wrote, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins."

Then in verse 11 it says, "and every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices which can never take away sins."

Again, in verse 12, Paul points to Jesus and said, "But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sin forever sat down at the right hand of God."

Verse 14 follows with:

"For by one offering HE has perfected forever those who are being sanctified."

If you are a true Christian, then you have received Jesus as the Passover Lamb that was sacrificed for you. Your sins are not covered by His blood, but they are washed away by His blood!

Jesus didn't die to cover our sins, He died that our sins might be removed from our account with God, as it is stated in Isaiah 1:18, "Come now, let us reason together", Saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

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In Scripture we find that the terms "Rod" and "BRANCH" are prophetically applied to the Messiah of Israel:

Isaiah 11: 1-2 states that:

"There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots..."

Jeremiah 23: 5-6

5) "Behold, the day is coming," says the Lord That I will raise to David a Branch of Righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and Righteousness in the earth;
6) "In his days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely;

Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."

In Zechariah 3: 8 we read:

"Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, You and your companions who sit before you, For they are a wondrous sign; For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH..." Again in Zechariah 6:12, we read:

"Behold the man whose name is the BRANCH!"

The name of the man spoken of in that passage is the same as the name of the one who would become the "BRANCH." sent forth by God.

And the man's name here is Joshua, the son of of Je-hoz' a-dak who was the High Priest at that time.

So you can see here that even in the Old Testament we are told the the name of the Messiah would be Joshua, which is the Hebrew source for the name "Jesus". In Hebrew, the word "Joshua" literally means "salvation".

So, hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, we are told what the actual name by which he would be called.

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In a tractate of the Mishna, called Pesachim, the people were told, in very specific detail, how they were to sacrifice, prepare and cook the Passover Lamb.

The number of people in the house determined how many lambs would be killed. If there were not enough people in the house to consume the lamb on the Passover they were to go to their next door neighbor and keep the Passover with them. If there were at least 10 people in the house; one lamb would be killed. If there were as many as 20 people in the house; two lambs would be killed;

The head of each family or group took the lamb, or lambs, to the temple and the lamb, which was to be sacrifice was to be not to be less than 8 days, nor more than one year of age.

Each Israelite killed his own lamb.

In the Temple, the priests stood in double rows (or files) extending up the Altar of Burnt Offerings. Each priest held either a bowl of silver or a bowl of gold in his hand, but one row of priests had to hold all silver bowls and the other all gold -- they were not allowed to be mixed.

As the person killed the lamb, the priest received the blood and gave it to another priest, who in turn passed it to another, and each receiving a bowl containing the blood; at the same time returning an empty one; the priest nearest the altar flung the blood in one (continuous) stream at the base of the altar.

After the blood of the lamb had been applied to the Altar in the temple, the lamb was taken and prepared to be cooked. The first thing they did was to shear the lamb of its wool.

The four Gospels and Psalms 22 tell us that when Jesus was crucified, they parted his garments and cast lots for his vesture (Ps. 22:18).

Isaiah 53: 7 states:

"He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not his mouth."

When we look at a crucifix and we see Jesus with the loin cloth. This is there out of our respect for Him. When Jesus was actually crucified He had no covering at all like that; just like the Passover lamb which was sacrificed had no covering.

The intent of the Romans was to absolutely humiliate the person, by totally stripping them of every vestage of dignity. They were to serve as an example to anyone who thought to challenge the authority of Rome.

Again, from the Tractate, Pesachim, we learn:

"In what manner was the paschal sacrifice suspended and its skin removed? Iron hooks were affixed to the walls and pillars, on which the sacrifice was suspended and its skin removed. Those who could not find a place to do it, in that manner used thin, smooth sticks of wood provided there for that purpose, on which they suspended the paschal sacrifice (and resting the sticks) between the shoulders of two persons, to remove the skin. R. Eliezer says: "If the 14th (of Nissan) occurred on a Sabbath, one person would place his left hand on the right shoulder of another, the latter would place his right hand on the left shoulder of the former, and thus suspending the sacrifice on the arms would remove the skin with their right hands."

This may give a good picture of Jesus being crucified as the Passover Lamb. Since He wasn't crucified on the Sabbath Day, He would have been hung on a piece of wood and suspended between between the shoulders of two men, just as in the Temple. In this case however, He would have been hung between the shoulders of the two thieves crucified with Him; who were probably facing each other; and as a results, looking directly at Jesus, God's Passover Lamb. Instead of the iron hooks used to support the lamb, as in the Temple; iron nails were used to support the Lamb slain at Golgotha.

The Passover Lamb was to be roasted in special ovens which were built for this purpose. It also had to be roasted on a "Spit". A SPIT is a rod used for roasting meat.

The "rod" on which the lamb was to be roasted, was to be made from the "Branch" of the pomegranite tree.

You may remember that Scriptures say, "There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots..."

and also,

"Behold the man whose name is the BRANCH."

In Israel the pomegranite was a symbol of Kingship.

There appears to be a prophetic reference here to this Rod, or Branch, which was used as a spit: It was probably used as symbol of the SCEPTER of the King.

In Isaiah 11: 4 we read,

But with righteousness He shall judge the poor,
And decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked."

His authority to strike the earth will be validated by the scepter which he shall possess.

Here is the way that they prepared and cooked the Passover Lamb in Those Days:

The spit or rod from the pomegranite was to be inserted through the mouth and run down the length of the lamb while the lamb's body was being held in a verticle position.

After the rod was inserted through the body, and in order for the lamb to be roasted thoroughly, the chest cavity was opened and a cross piece was used so that the fire could cook the inside of the lamb as well as the outside.

We can see the symbolism here - The Verticle SPIT ("Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree") then the Horizontal piece which formed a "Cross".

One source, stated that the front legs of the lamb were tied to each end of the cross piece. Another seems to indicate that the cross piece was driven through the chest cavity to hold it open. That may be implied by the spear that was thrust into the Lord's side before he was taken down from the cross.

John 19:34 says,

"...one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediatley blood and water came out."

It's possible that both methods of holding open the chest cavity were considered acceptable.

Besides all of this, the law demanded that no part of the lamb was to be discarded or remain uncooked, so they took the entrails of the lamb, (the intestines and eveything that could not be eaten) and wound them into a circle and affixed them to the head of the lamb. This was called the "Crown" or "Helmet-ed Sacrifice". Even if you couldn't eat those parts they still had to be roasted with the rest of the lamb. Those parts of the lamb which were not eaten would lated be burned, because Scripture states that no part of the lamb could be left until the next morning.

Now again, we can see the tremendous symbolism here:

What was meant to be the ultimate symbol of His destruction (The verticle beam of the Corss, or the rod which went through the mouth of the Passover Lamb); would become the symbol of his power by which he will smite and rule over the nations.

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As mentioned previously, Scripture says,

"Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree." (Galatians 3:13)

While it's true that the Romans brought a living crucifixion to Israel; the Jews had their on version of this punishment, which was pronounced by Scripture.

Under Jewish law, if a person committed a capital offence, they were usually stoned to death, then their hands were bound together and they were hung on a tree as directed by Scripture.

The person so hung was usually taken down immediately, as that act of hanging the body satisfied the demand of the Law and they were not to be further disgraced before the people.

There were also two cemeteries : one for the righteous; and one for the wicked.

Those put to death in this fashion (that is, "hung on a tree") were to be buried in the cemetery of the wicked.

Isaiah 53: 9 says,

"And they made his grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death."

In Galatians 3, the Apostle Paul was quoting from Deuteronomy 21:22-23 , a verse which prophetically spoke of the burial of Jesus.

It says:

22) If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree.

23) his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which is given you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God."

We know that Jesus never committed a sin, let alone one worthy of death; but in the eyes of the High Priest, Jesus was guilty of Blasphemy, because he said that he was the Messiah, the Son of God. (Matt. 26:63-66) Verse 23 above also, validates that Jesus had to be buried before nightfall of the day He was crucified. The following evening began the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The Bible says, that Caiphas, the High Priest, was prophesying about the death of Jesus when he said " ...it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish."

It goes on th say, "from that day on, they plotted to put him to death." (John 11:48-53).

Notice that he said, that it was expedient or necessary that "one man" (not the customary lamb) should die for the sins of the people.

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There are differences of opinion as to which actual days of the week Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. Most Christians hold to the "Good Friday - Easter Sunday" tradition. Others hold that Jesus was crucified on a Thursday, and still others believe he was crucified on a Wednesday. Please see the article, "The Crucifixon - Good Friday or Wednesday" for more on this.

Also:

To Read about the Pharisees/Sadducees Controversy Click Here
To Read about the Structure of the Tribulation Period Click Here

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